Ireland’s newest holiday company, Emirates Holidays, has officially launched in Dublin. Specialising in tailor-made, premium holiday packages to Dubai and beyond, the company aims to bring more Irish visitors to Dubai.
Nearly 16 million people visited Dubai last year and there has been a significant rise in the numbers from Ireland heading east for their holidays and short breaks.
At the launch, I spoke to Niel Alobaidi, Managing Director of Emirates Holidays, to get the lowdown on Ireland’s newest tour operator.
Describing the brand, he said: “Emirates Holidays is the tour operator within the Emirates brand. Different to a lot of other tour operators, we have two clear objectives. We aim to fill the planes for Emirates and to fill the hotels in Dubai. So a lot of our strategies are based around how we deliver on those two objectives.”
Our expertise is very much around how we sell Dubai as a destination. It’s all tailor-made scheduled holidays. We handpick 4 and 5-star hotels and we tailor it to the customers. Now that we’re launching in Ireland, one of our objectives will be to get to know the customers here in Ireland, making sure that we start with the right product and evolve it to affect the market.
Emirates Holidays is currently operating in 38 markets worldwide, with the company choosing Dublin as their second European hub due to a lot of interest and similarities with the UK market:
“Our initial focus in Europe was the UK because it’s got 19 Emirates flights a day. We’ve seen phenomenal growth there, so the question was where to go next and Ireland made perfect sense.”
Before Emirates Holidays launched in Ireland, people wanting to avail of the tour operating service here in Ireland had to go through the UK operator and travel to their destination via the UK:
“We started to see an increase in enquiries from Ireland to our UK office and we really believed that Dublin was the right place to come to next. It’s exciting to grow the proposition here.”
Speaking about the target market for Emirates Holidays, Niel mentioned that while they cater to a wide variety of people with specific holiday interests, they’ve found the key market to be families:
“The main growth we’ve seen worldwide, but especially in the UK over the past three years, has been families and about 40% of our customers are families.”
He added: “Dubai now for families has so much going on. At the end of the next couple of years, there’ll be four massive theme parks and we really see it as an alternative to Orlando. It’s got amazing water parks, desert activities, the tallest building in the world and much more, it’s absolutely perfect for families.”
Located just 7 hours from Dublin, year-long sunshine isn’t that far away. As well as families, Niel also sees great potential for couples and honeymooners, commenting:
“Honeymooners are another big market of ours and also couples, particularly those looking for luxury and premium packages.”
So, I couldn’t help but wonder what the benefits of choosing Emirates Holidays over another tour operator were. In response, Niel explained:
“If you think about the expertise we have; our call centre is made of people who live in Dubai, who travel there all the time and really know the city. We really value the service we deliver and we’ve won consumer-led awards for it.”
We take the potential fear and nerves of new destinations away. When you land in Dubai, you’re met by someone outside who walks you through immigration and brings you to your hotel transfer. This security is really good, especially for families.
“We get really exclusive deals and we’re not trying to be the cheapest out there. You get what you pay for and there are no hidden charges. If you go on some of these online travel agent sites, you have to pay tax on top. With us, what you see it what you get.”
These aren’t the only benefits available to those booking with Emirates Holidays and those with theme parks on the agenda will be big fans of the free day pass options:
“Every customer currently gets a free day pass to one of the theme park resorts. That’s included for everyone who stays three nights in Dubai. They get one day at a theme park free, so it’s that real value proposition, which I think is probably unique and I genuinely hope it’s complimentary to what’s in the market.”
Coming to the end of our chat, I wanted to know Niel’s hopes for the future of Emirates Holidays in the Irish market and how he thinks it will be received:
“The main thing is to get Dubai across as a destination and the opportunity to do this in the Irish market is really phenomenal. In terms of the Emirates brand, I think we’re the best people to help sell Dubai, but also help everyone else who wants to sell Dubai, because getting the message across is the key.”
Sarah has always had a great love of travel, food and photography. Following her journalism degree at DCU, she developed a passion for travel writing while living in Spain.
Sarah loves exploring new places and sampling the local cuisine. Working with TheTaste.ie combines her love of food and travel.
A big people person, especially when it comes to hearing other people’s stories, Sarah loves interviewing chefs, food producers and more.